Salvage logging proposal underway on Kootenai

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The Kootenai National Forest is finalizing a proposal for salvage logging on 92 acres of forest land that burned during last summer’s wildfires.

Brian Donner, the district ranger for the Rexford and Fortine ranger districts, said the salvage sales are in three separate locations.

“At this time we’re just initiating our planning process,” he said. “We’ve identified on the ground what we think is appropriate, but then we have to do the [National Environmental Policy Act] process.”

He said he hopes to put the sales out for bidding in the spring, with logging wrapping up by the end of next summer.

While more than 32,000 acres burned in the Kootenai National Forest this summer, Donner said most of that area was either inaccessible, had other resource conflicts or was in a wilderness area where timber harvesting is prohibited.

Flathead National Forest officials are still in the early stages of identifying burn areas in the Spotted Bear Ranger District where salvage logging can take place.

Forest spokeswoman Teresa Wenum said a planning team has now been pulled together, and is looking at the Trail Creek Fire as a possibility. Out of 22,195 acres scorched by the blaze, 14,431 are outside the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area.

She said a proposal for the salvage project could come out as early as January.


Reporter Sam Wilson can be reached at 758-4407 or by email at swilson@dailyinterlake.com.

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